Ding Darling

We Knew Him When: An Exhibit of Jay N. “Ding” Darling

Jay N. “Ding” Darling was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist for the Des Moines Register, founded the National Wildlife Federation, established the Cooperative Research Unit programs — now in 39 universities across the country — and created the first duck stamp in 1934. Darling had a sketch book in hand throughout his life and travels —providing a portal into the soul of this visionary, who never forgot that he once was a boy.

Curator and nationally recognized Darling expert, Sam Koltinsky will be sharing some of his most treasured Darling Exhibits items ranging from personal artifacts to the artwork that the world seldom knows from March 26 to August 31, 2018 at Drake University’s Cowles Library. Darling’s legacy of leadership includes a strong link to Drake University by granting him an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws on June 2, 1926. The Drake-Darling connection being researched in the rich archives housed in the Cowles Library is certain to provide new insight and surprises for the exhibit whose outreach will be local, regional and national. As a special treat, Koltinsky will have on hand some of Darling’s sketchbooks which date back to his college days.


Sam Koltinsky, nationally recognized Darling expert & Director of the Jay N. Darling Center in Des Moines


Exhibit and speaker series runs March 26 – August 31, 2018

Exhibit Hours

  • Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday – Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM


Cowles Library Collier Room, Atrium and Reading Room


Exhibit and speaker series is free and open to the public during Cowles Library hours.
Exhibit docent tours are available upon request. Please email Claudia Frazer at claudia.frazer@drake.edu.

Exhibit Opening and Reception
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
7:00-8:30 PM
Cowles Library Reading Room


  • Getting our Ducks in a Row: An Inside Look at our Drake Darling Exhibit
    Sam Koltinsky, Director and Curator, Jay N. Darling Center, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Ding: Beyond Ducks
    Joe McGovern, President, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
  • From Ding to Duffy: Cartooning in Iowa
    Brian Duffy, Freelance Cartoonist and Illustrator, Former Front Page Cartoonist for the Des Moines Register

Special music provided by Dartanyan

A Conversation With Nature: Ding Darling’s Legacy
Thursday, April 5, 2018
7:00-8:30 PM
Cowles Library Reading Room

Presented by:

  • Amahia Mallea, Associate Professor of History, Drake University
  • Peter Levi, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, Drake University
  • Thomas R. Rosburg, Professor of Biology, Drake University

What Ding Might Say
Thursday, April 19, 2018
7:00-8:30 PM
Cowles Library Reading Room


  • Ding Darling: Journalism at its Best
    Dennis Ryerson, Former Editor of the Des Moines Register
  • From Darling to Today: What Ding might say about Iowa’s Environmental Crisis
    Neil Hamilton, Professor of Law and Director of Agricultural Law Center, Drake University

Ding, Ducks and Drake
Thursday, May 3, 2018
7:00-8:30 PM
Cowles Library Reading Room

Presented by:

  • Greg Sheehan, Principal Deputy Director, Office of External Affairs, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Special music provided by Dartanyan